Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Showers of Mercy

We have been in a moderate drought this summer...like a lot of the country, we have had weeks of heat and little rain.  Monday, however, was a treat...it rained all day and I came home to water drenched sunflowers.  The rain was such a gift to a very thirsty and parched Ohio.

Thank you for indulging me with my sunflowers again today...although the focus is the rain, paired up with quotes about the same subject.  Once my volunteers are gone, it will be a year before they come by again.

 Soaking Joy

Perhaps this one is soaked with joy...

 Kiss of Rain

This one is rain-kissed!

 Love in the Rain

This flirt is being seductive...

 Let it Rain

This one has such a plain ole practical attitude...

 Pray for Rain

And this one is a little subdued!

I love my sunflowers and am grateful for God's gift of a day of refreshing rain.  We take so much for granted.

With gratitude,


Monday, August 27, 2012

Evening and Morning Mercies

Under the bird feeders in the backyard (we have some on the side, too)...we noticed a bunch of sprouts sticking up from the ground early June.  Quickly to realize these were volunteer sunflowers from the bird feeders that have been scattered by our foraging feather friends, he mowed around them and what a Gift!!!  I know folks who deliberately plant them that have trouble...and look what God did on his own!

So let me share with you my 100-plus sunflowers with you...and may it brighten your day!

 Books and Bees

Of course, they are swarming with pollen pleasure junkies..especially bumblebees...but they almost seem grateful and are so not bothersome.

 The Mystery of God

But the glow that comes from the backlight off the petals is amazing!

 Sunflowers Inside

And they are so bright that I had to mute the colors in a lot of these photos!

 Out the Window
When looking for quotes, there was a poem that stated about a sunflower, And she bares her round bosom before the sun.

 Look at the Sunflower

This one is a pretty new bloom...you can tell by the inner circle of the center being so tight and there are a few beads of moisture on them.

 Crazed with the Love of Light

And then I looked at the glory of just the petals...fascinating! Crazed with the love of light!


I found my camera would not stop clicking...and time became meaningless as I was so enchanted by these golden glories.

 Finding the Light

But with so many outside, I had to cut a few and bring their splendor to the living room.  The bees did not seem to mind and the flowers seem to feel privileged to have this place of honor.

This, by far was my favorite quote:
Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it.  Such a lesson in life...
- Helen Mirren, from The Calendar Girls

So look for the Light today...He's there...you'll see!

With gratitude,


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Pieces of Me - A Scavenger Hunt

This week our "Beyond Layers" e-course challenged us with a collaborative idea between Kim Klassen and Kathy McDonald.  This is part of Kathy's contribution:
When my girls were born I started scrapbooking. One day I noticed a lady making a "Pieces of You" page. I loved this idea because she was using the cropped discards from the photos she was putting in her scrapbook. We often cut out the background noise in our photos that also show pieces of our lives, for example, a mailbox, a car etc... The other day I had several ideas come to mind and remembered the lady's scrapbook page. This prompted me to send Kim an email. I would love to see pieces of your lives

So, Kim challenged us to collect pieces of our lives through a Scavenger Hunt - prompting to find different items.  These were my findings...

My Breakfast

Our breakfast...my generic rice chex cereal (cheaper at Wal*Mart) with coffee...but most work days it is just coffee.

 On My Feet

We had to take a photo based upon "on my feet"...a self-portrait of my foot!  Love my tattoo?  It's really just a helium heart brush I put on the photo (tattoo wannabe).  And the polish on my toes is from our work retreat pedicure...the color is called "Bad Romance."

 My Favorite Chair

My favorite chair...this is where I am sitting right now...barefeet on the ottoman, where I do a lot of my laptop work.  I should use my office but it feels so isolating after being away from the Edster all day.  This is in our living room.  The Hydrangea came from Mrs. Haslinger's garden, where we had our work retreat last Saturday.  Oh the photos I came away with...

Front Door and Mailbox

My mailbox and front door.  I made this more of a vintage look because the mailbox is that generic dark green you see on resin...very unattractive.  See Bruno on the screened porch?

 Currently Reading

A photo of what we are currently reading.  I have read this book multiple times.  And it is meaningful every single time.  It has sold over 10 million copies and written in 24 languages.  It ranked as one of the ten most influential books in America when the Library of Congress surveyed readers to name a book that made a difference in your life.

 Out My Window - Sunflowers!

The next challenge was to take a photo out of your window.  Mine is actually out the sliding glass doors (but close enough).  SUNFLOWERS...tons of sunflowers with fifty-plus diligent bumblebees hovering, taking advantage of their pollen of gold.

Interesting story about these sunflowers.  They are ALL volunteers.  They grew below the bird feeders...and so Edster decided to mow around the small tender starts and wallah!  We probably have at least 100!

 Favorite Beverage - Gingerale

And then there's the challenge of our favorite beverage (mine is gingerale - cold, thirst quenching, and light)...

 Light and Dark

And a light fixture...

 A Kitchen Faucet

And lastly...a kitchen faucet.  Heavens, look at those scratches!  (In West Virginia, we call them spigots!)

What a fun week...although life seemed to get in the way of getting all this posted.  But I hope you feel a little closer after glancing at these pieces of me.

With gratitude,


Friday, August 24, 2012

5 Facts Friday - Random

It is hard to believe I have not posted in a week...but it has been busy, having less personal time than usual. Forgive me?

But is is 5 Fact Friday ~ yes, from Kim and Xanthe...and here are mine...rather radom but still they were fun!

Enjoy the weekend, my friends!

With gratitude,


Friday, August 17, 2012

5 Facts Friday - My Roots!

Well it's Friday...and that means FIVE FACTS on Kim and Xanthe's blog.  I thought today I would write about my roots...no, no, no not my hair (At age 55 I have never colored my hair)...

No, my Ancestry roots~~~~

1.  My father grew up with chickens.  He tells a story about trying to get a chicken in the hen house...the chicken would not mind so my dad got mad and hit it with a wooden plank.  They had chicken that night for supper.

2.  My 4th great grandfather, Benoni T. Powers, was raised by Captain William Powers...but rumors abound for decades...and later comes DNA testing...and the rumor that Benoni T. Powers was really the illegitimate child of one of Henry McWhorter's sons could no longer be dismissed when DNA testing proved the rumor true.

3.  My grandmother Dora Frances Kelly's lineage flows through the McWhorter line and she married my grandfather, Coy Columbus Powers, great-great grandson of Benoni T. Powers.  So they were related but did not know it.

4.  My 5th great grandfather, Henry McWhorter, was one of the first white settlers of West Virginia.  His cabin, built in 1793, still stands near Jane Lew, Lewis County, West Virginia.

Ten Truths

5.  My great-grandmother, Margaret Jane Gordon Kelley, shown here at age 16, did not marry until she was age 41.

So now you've met some of the fam...and I am a part of them all.  Stick around...I'll introduce you to some more of my kin in future posts!

With gratitude (for my heritage),

Summer Wanes and Beyond Layers

On Wednesday after work, Edster and I, along with my stepdog, Bruno, went down to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to walk the towpath, enjoy the weather, and of course, take photographs!  The towpath goes along the former Ohio and Erie Canal and has become the jewel of Ohio...33,000 acres of green between the metropolitan areas of Cleveland and Akron.

Kim challenged us, on Day 60 of Beyond Layers, to use scripted textures and a special recipe to create some warm, scripted images.  Her inspiration and God's gifts of nature just on the cusp of the weather changing to Autumn winds, produced these three.

 Doll Eyes in August

Doll Eyes in August

 On Autumn's Cusp

Waning Summer



It was a beautiful walk while it was in the 80s and fair, you could sense the green in the leaves were getting tired and the trees on their last leg just before the Autumn wind down...and bright goldenrod left no doubt that change of the season is just on our doorstep.

With gratitude,


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Small Steps

I've been engrossed in organizing my Photoshop brushes since the weekend...what a job!  But so worth it...knowing what I have is a real plus!  I got some great tips and a template from Nanette Dalton, writing for Digital Scrapper.  But I feel like it will take forever but...I'll get there taking small steps.

So in light of this huge organizational task and after reading Kim's Texture Tuesday today and Day 59 from Beyond Layers yesterday...this is where my inspiration took me.

 Believe in Small Steps
You need to be content with small steps; steps you take every day so when you look down the road  it all adds up and you know you've covered some distance.

-K. Kavincsky

These were flowers that my Edster bought for me...I put them in a porcelain white pitcher and looked down over them on the front porch and snapped this photo.

 In my work, I am always telling families to be gentle with themselves and to acknowledge all that they are carrying and managing with having a child with chronic/complex illness, plus other competing demands.  And yet, I fail to follow my own advice.

As Kim spoke of yesterday, we are all faced with strengths and weaknesses, areas where we can improve or do better...and there's some things I know I will NEVER be good at.  (I'm so glad wallpaper is no longer en vogue as it was in the 1980s, remember?  I will NEVER have the patience for THAT tedium... Laura Ashley and Waverly were major brands in those days...), but I digress.

I think the television coverage of the Olympic games  may possibly have unintended consequences.  With world records crumbling on the hour, we fail to see the multiplicity of small steps that got those athletes to that point.  In a world with instant information, instant drive thru meals, and the pervasive entitled attitude of American society...the value and virtue of short-term sacrifice for long-term rewards has become passe'.

In my previous posts, looking through my old journals reminded me of the many small steps I have taken in my lifetime and the distance I've covered...growth I've achieved...just by showing up every day, putting one foot in front of the other, one day at a time.  There were no giant leaps...no gain without pain.  But the dailyness of it all can so blind me of it all...

So celebrate your small steps...the multitude of small steps you have taken every day...knowing that they not only take you to places you never dreamed possible...but that the joy is in the journey and God's mercies are abundant along the way!

With gratitude,


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Five Fact Friday ~ Posted on Saturday

Well, Friday creeped up on me and so this is a little late...but it is

on Kim Klassen and Xanthe Berkeley's Refection of You blog from Behind The Scenes.

Here is my submission this week...my first attempt at making it a single composition.  The template is my personal creation, crediting paper, overlay and elements to Digital Scrapper.

 Five Fact Friday - Week 2

So the five facts about me this week are:

1.  I LOVE my first cup of coffee in the morning.
2.  I relish the anticipation of the bursting open of the first sunflower of summer.
3.  I welcome birds at the feeders at my bedroom window.
4.  I get excited at the last weeks of summer and see the subtle transitions.
5.  I love photographing grunge!

All photos were taken in Akron, Ohio (3 at my home) with the exception of #5 which is at Valley Forge National Park in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

With gratitude,


Friday, August 10, 2012

Texture Tuesday and Painting with Light

Wow...thanks for all the comments on my journal journey series...some of you wrote about having lovely journals but not feeling comfortable writing in them...

Well...I want to share something with you that was retweeted by my friend, Tina Hunt...
The beautiful part of writing  is that you don't have to get it right the first time unlike, say, brain surgery.  Robert Cormier.

How freeing is that?????  You can follow these tweets at Quotes4Writers...

So today for now, let's make it light as I share two works from this weeks' Beyond Layers and Texture Tuesday.  Texture Tuesday's theme this week was "not necessarily textured Tuesday"...  Here's my submission...

 Field of Dreams

This photo was taken at a bog metropark nearby on a very hot day...the recipe includes some layers using a black and white gradient map (normal, screen mode, and soft light) and then duplicating the background layer and adding a black and white gradient...toning down the yellow, selecting at about 20 px feathering, using a levels adjustment to make a highlighted frame.  It gives it this kind of dreamy feel...so I called it "Field of Dreams."

 Mystery of Grace

This is my first attempt with Kim's recipe for Day 58, Painting with Light, with Beyond Layers.  Did a selection with level adjustments and a  little cross processing...  A great quote by Anne Lamott~~
I do not understand the mystery of grace ~~ only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.

Five facts will be coming later today...so stay tuned.

It's a joy to have all of you a part of my life!

With gratitude,

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Journaling Journeys ~ The Original Plan

As promised, here are some photo shoots of my favorite journals (this was the original plan)...I love them...I collect them...and each blank page has amazing potential and possibilities.  These are not all my journals, but these are the ones I chose to share with you today...

 Journal 1

These wirebound journals are ones I got for a song!

 Journal 2

Normally, I'd pay nearly $20 at Barnes & Noble for each of these, but found them for $3 at TJ Maxx.  Not bad, huh?

 Journal 3

I also have a few journals that have vivid color, made with Moroccan leather, with decorative engraving in the leather.  NOT from TJ Maxx.

 Journal 4

I love this teal one particularly with the butterfly on it.

 Journal 5

And, of course, the ribbon placeholders are a must.

 Journal 6

This is a journal that is just plain fun from Mary Engelbreit!  I've had it for a long time.  I was attracted to its whimsical feel.  The quality of the writing pages is astoundingly silky smooth!

 Journal 7

And look at this black and white ribbon!  What's not to love?

 Journal 8

These journals have more of a spiritual flavor to them with beautiful pages with subtle texture and pictures that elegantly resemble scrapbook paper.

 Journal 10

This top one is the one where I keep my running list of gifts, as inspired in the book, One Thousand Gifts.

 Journal 9

And this is just part of my list.

 Journal 11

This journal I held onto for years...I love this little beading at the end of the ribbon.

 Journal 12

I had hoped I could some day I could write about the courtship of me and the love of my life...if indeed, that would ever happen.

 Journal 13

And it did!!!!

 Journal 14

You cannot really see the top of this journal, but it is dainty and feminine, looking like Victorian wallpaper (and I'm not normally a Victorian girl) but it does have a vintage feel.

 Journal 15

This simple guided journal is for inspirations and reflections of gratitude for all the magical moments given to us in a day.

 Journal 16

And lastly, I got this journal with a magazine subscription...it's called a Discipleship Journal with Bible study content for reflection and to encourage spiritual growth.

So there you have it...will I fill them all?...who knows...but I always want to take time to reflect on the times of my life.  And in the words of Socrates...
The uncontemplated life is not worth living.

With gratitude,